Opendata, web and dolomites


Symbiont-assisted cuticle biosynthesis as a key innovation contributing to the evolutionary success of beetles

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 SYMBeetle project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the SYMBeetle project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "SYMBeetle" about.

associate    symbiont    desiccation    symbionts    acquisition    cuticle    stored    aromatic    colonization    transform    diets    cuticular    contribution    trait    replicated    tests    hardening    resistance    experimental    assisted    symbeetle    tractable    relevance    provision    microbial    phylogenetically    elucidating    replicate    underlying    evolutionary    expansion    fitness    symbiotic    ambient    associations    origins    elucidate    central    successful    insect    understand    beetles    seven    humidity    lack    contexts    niche    transition    uniquely    inability    herbivory    economically    adaptations    front    events    exoskeleton    rigid    thick    ecological    allowed    acid    barrier    protective    host    experimentally    pests    exploits    diversification    symbioses    niches    subsisting    indicates    hampered    ecology    relaxing    habitats    tyrosine    emergence    nitrogen    usually    crops    supplementing    candidate    agricultural    naturally    families    defense    supplementation    least    innovation    biosynthesis    facilitators    manipulate    amino    tanning    combine    taxonomic    microbes    constituted    evolution    rigorous    dependence    expand    manipulation    dry    wings    hypothesis   

Project "SYMBeetle" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: SAARSTRASSE 21
city: MAINZ
postcode: 55122

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Total cost 1˙997˙750 €
 EC max contribution 1˙997˙750 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2018-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-06-01   to  2024-05-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

To elucidate the key adaptations underlying evolutionary success remains one of the central challenges in evolution and ecology. However, rigorous experimental tests are usually hampered by the lack of replicate evolutionary events or the inability to manipulate a candidate trait of importance. SYMBeetle exploits the naturally replicated evolution of an experimentally tractable, symbiont-assisted key adaptation in beetles to understand its impact on niche expansion and diversification. Recent evidence indicates that beetles across at least seven different families associate with microbial symbionts that provision their host with tyrosine, an aromatic amino acid necessary for cuticle biosynthesis, hardening, and tanning. SYMBeetle addresses the hypothesis that the acquisition of tyrosine-supplementing microbes constituted a key innovation across phylogenetically distinct beetles that allowed them to expand into novel ecological niches, by relaxing the dependence on nitrogen-rich diets for successful formation of the rigid exoskeleton and protective front wings. Specifically, tyrosine supplementation may facilitate the transition to herbivory and allow for subsisting at very low ambient humidity, by facilitating the production of a thick cuticular barrier to desiccation. To test this, SYMBeetle will uniquely combine experimental manipulation of symbiotic associations to assess the symbionts’ contribution to cuticle biosynthesis and its fitness consequences (desiccation resistance and defense) with large-scale comparative approaches aimed at elucidating the taxonomic distribution, ecological contexts, and evolutionary origins of cuticle-supplementing symbioses. The results are expected to transform our understanding of microbes as important facilitators for the evolution of herbivory and the colonization of dry habitats in beetles, two factors of major relevance for the emergence of economically relevant insect pests of agricultural crops and stored products.

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The information about "SYMBEETLE" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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